Souto de Moura

NO, IT IS NOT… . Venice

Souto de Moura .  NO, IT IS NOT… . Venice  (1)

Eduardo Souto de Moura . photos: © Alessandra Chemollo . + archilovers

…no, it is not a chapel, not a sanctuary and in any case not a tomb. It is simply a place enclosed by four stone walls, while another stone at the center might be the altar. The entrance is screened by a tree we want to conserve. The walls, inside, have a ledge on which we can sit and wait… waiting with our feet on the ground, head in hands. “Things themselves know when they ought to happen.”
(David Mourão-Ferreira) Continue reading Souto de Moura


Smiljan Radic

Vatican Chapel. Venice

Smiljan Radic .  A CHAPEL AS A ROADSIDE SHRINE . Venice  (1)

Smiljan Radic . photos: © Alessandra Chemollo . + archilovers

According to the popular saying in Chile, a roadside shrine is a trap for the soul… But we know that these shrines are tribalized chapels where grieving people place flowers and candles for the tragically deceased. These shrines are normally found abandoned at the side of highways adorned with the shapes and colors of a circus, or with the austerity of the plain walls of a temple. On the other hand, if we look at historical examples, a chapel, any chapel, always hopes to be bigger than it is. It always pretends to be a church or a temple, hiding its smaller size, using large forms. Its scale is a trick. Perhaps due to this desire for greatness, the elements of architecture seen in them are miniaturized… windows, doors, columns are shrunk down, just big enough for a person to fit through, and their walls are large opaque sheets, avoiding the perforations that would betray this exquisite domestic size… All this confuses us and we are left doubting the human scale. In this way, in a chapel and also in a roadside shrine, the monumental and the domestic live in harmony. This seems to be the basis of the issue in my small conical chapel, with its thin walls and open roof. Continue reading Smiljan Radic


Carla Juaçaba


Carla Juaçaba . A BENCH AND A CROSS . Venice  (8)

Carla Juaçaba . photos: © Alessandra Chemollo . + archilovers

A hidden glade behind the waters of Venice is ever a beauty. The project joins that beauty outlining briefly the space. Four steel beams, 8 meters long (12×12 cm thick), compose the ensemble: one is a bench, the other one is a cross. It is built on seven pieces of concrete (12x12x200cm), which give metric to the ensemble. Steel beams are made of highly polished stainless steel to reflect the surroundings: the chapel may disappear at a certain moment.
And so the shadow of the ensemble may become more evident than the object itself. The presence of history surrounds, the use of a bench and a cross is ages. Continue reading Carla Juaçaba


Terunobu Fujimori


Terunobu Fujimori . CROSS CHAPEL . Venice  (3)

Terunobu Fujimori . photos: © Alessandra Chemollo . + archilovers

Perhaps it is only in Japan, but it seems that when the people think about the image of Christianity, the cross comes first of all to mind. When Christianity came to Japan in the middle of the 16th century, a cross was placed as the sole Christian symbol on the roof of the Nanban Dera, built in the capital Kyoto with traditional techniques. At the start of the 17th century Christianity was strictly prohibited and severely repressed, and Christian people were crucified. After that, for two centuries and several decades, a test was made to discover hidden Christians; people were forced to step on bronze reliefs of a cross, a cross drawn on paper, or a statue of Saint Mary, and those who refused were executed. The association between Christianity and the cross is unchanged in contemporary Japan, and even a small building surrounded with houses in the city can be identified as a church due to the fact that a cross stands atop its roof [1]. The cross is unique as a symbol in the religious history of the world. Buddhism, Islam and Confucianism do not use scenes of death as symbols of the most important tenets of their faith. Buddha, Muhammad and Confucius were surrounded by disciples and died peaceful deaths. Designing a chapel for the first time, I decided to make the cross my theme. Continue reading Terunobu Fujimori